Pizzadili Winery: A Father's Dream Realized

In south-central Kent County, the town of Felton’s tree-lined streets aren’t exactly a spitting image of Tuscany, Italy, which is one of the most famous wine-producing regions in the world. That doesn’t bother Pete Pizzadili though. The owner of Pizzadili Vineyard and Winery located near the small town has created what he calls a piece of paradise along Peach Basket Road. 
 Pete and his late brother, Tony, were born in Tuscany, where their father, Salvatore Pizzadili, owned and operated a vineyard. Despite the beauty of the area, the Pizzadili family was forced to move to the United States after the end of World War II. A lack of food and money made it difficult for the family to stay in their native country. “After the war, my father was looking for something better for us kids, so he wrote to his brother and asked if he could bring us here,” said Pizzadili. 
 The family settled in Delaware in 1956 and began working at Pizzadili Delicatessen in Dover, which remains in operation today. Pete said his father originally hoped to purchase land and start a winery in Delaware, but Salvatore never realized his dream — he died in 1968. 
But in 1993, Pete and Tony Pizzadili, who both could barely speak English when they immigrated to the United States, bought a large plot of land in Felton. Two types of grapes were planted on the farm. Pizzadili Vineyard and Winery was officially founded, turning their father’s dream into a reality. 
 Since the first grapes were planted, the Winery has consistently expanded. The Vineyard’s grounds are dotted with rose bushes and gardens, a large pond and benches for visitors to relax while they sample the wine. A pavilion houses weddings and parties, and the main building includes a tasting room and the Bacchus Cave, where guests can dine next to wine aging in huge oak barrels. 
 Pete said he’s tried to create a “Garden of Eden” for guests and himself. “This is a piece of heaven on earth and that is the truth, you have to see it to believe it.”
 Pizzadili Winery comes alive from late summer through early fall as the harvest begins. Grapes are tested for their sweetness and, when the sugar content is just right, thousands of pounds of grapes are hand-picked by family, friends and volunteers. 
 After the grapes are placed in a crusher, de-stemmer, presser and then fermented, they age in oak barrels or steel vats. Wine aged in steel vats has a crisper, more delicate finish. The oak barrels infuse the wine with a smoky essence. Pizzadili, in his thick Italian accent, is happy to offer novice wine enthusiasts advice. 
 “The average person likes sweet white wine. I like dry red wine, so I cannot convince you that my red is better than sweet wine. But I tell people to take a piece of cheese and chase it with a glass of wine. After a while, you’ll learn the kind of wine you like. It washes down the taste of the cheese and the wine complements the cheese, it trains your palate.”
 Guests can taste a variety of wines, including cabernet, merlot, vidal blanc, pinot gris, chambourcin (Pete’s favorite) chardonnay and many others. After more than two decades in the wine business, Pete said the best part about running the vineyard are the people he has had a chance to meet. “Meeting the people is the best part. You meet some people who know nothing about wine. Some people know more than I do. You can learn from the people.”
 Pete hopes his father’s dream and legacy continues to produce delicious wines for generations to come. 
 “We’re very proud. I have two daughters and I hope they can continue the dream that my father had and that my brother and I started. I really hope so.”

Pizzadili Winery Images